Redress Design Award 2019 Finalists

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By BEL JACOBS


Every year, the fashion industry creates 92 million tons of textile waste. That’s 92 million tons of raw materials, human labour and animal lives just chucked away - and that’s without taking into account the toll the textile industry take son the planet, in terms of water use, carbon emissions and chemical pollution. Earlier this year,  Redress - an environmental charity whose ongoing mission has been to prevent and transform textile waste and to catalyse a circular economy - announced the finalists of the ninth Redress Design Award 2019. 

Ten emerging designers have been shortlisted from hundreds of international applicants by a judging panel made up of sustainability experts including Orsola de Castro, Co-founder of Fashion Revolution and Clare Press, Vogue Australia’s Sustainability Editor. The designers’ remit? To “re-design fashion, by re-thinking how clothes are made and worn through a lens of design for circularity” and to create clothing for “contemporary, fashion-loving individuals who value directional design and technical innovation as much as they respect people and the planet.”

A glance through the competition collections demonstrates - yet again - how much is possible when you set cutting edge minds to the task of transforming waste into want. Inspired by everything from Hong Kong’s neon skyline to the pressing climate emergency, the designers - including the UK’s Maddie Williams - upcycle and reconstruct a variety of textile waste types, including damaged camping equipment, wedding dresses, uniform waste and restaurant table linens.

After a four week open call receiving thousands of votes from the public, the Redress Design Award 2019 People’s Choice was awarded to Israel designer, Moriah Ardila, whose collection is inspired by outdoor living in non-urbanised areas of the world where people are more attuned to nature. Tapping into this unique waste source - a first for the competition - Moriah up-cycles damaged camping equipment, such as sleeping bags and tents, into modern clothing items that retain parts of their original functionality.

The issues raised have never been so urgent. “Despite an increase in awareness and some action across the industry, the catastrophic levels of waste are not diminishing fast enough,” warns Christina Dean, founder of Redress. “We are incredibly excited about the energy this next generation of finalists are charged with - and their potential to drive a positive shift from linear to circular models of production. 

“Each year, the applicants’ creativity and thirst for knowledge increases, demonstrating higher levels of transformative thinking which are essential to solve this challenge,” she concludes.

“We need them more and more,” agrees de Castro. “Their design opinions [are] steeped in today’s problems with creativity as their solution. These designers are offering us their views on the world we are leaving them, dictated by need and imagination instead of greed and exploitation, and in return ask us to support them in cleaning up our mess.”

The finalists travel to Hong Kong in late August to take part in an intense week of activities and challenges that will further test their sustainable design thinking before the Grand Final is live-streamed to the world on September 5th. "It’s been incredibly inspiring to return as a judge,” says Press. “The depth of thought and breadth of creativity, applied by these talented young designers to dreaming up circular fashion design solutions has really impressed me.”

• Visit the LEARN platform www.redressdesignaward.com/learn for resources on how to source, design and market sustainable fashion and find out more about the Sustainable Fashion Educator Pack at www.redressdesignaward.com/educatorpack. www.redressdesignaward.com 

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